Mackley Garnet Lucas (1924-2008)

Mr. Lucas  was raised in the Lincoln area and was a former student at the Lincoln School B. He served in the U.S. Army in Germany and England during World War II.  He joined the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Lincoln in 1946 and became an ordained deacon in 1974. Mackley Lucas was an entrepreneur and wanted to work for himself.  He ran the Lucas Cab Co. for 16 years while also working for the Loudoun Milk Transportation Company in Purcellville. He drove the milk truck for 15 years and was the first driver in Loudoun County to pick up milk with a tanker. During this time, he also founded the Lucas & Chinn Refuge Service, which he operated for 23 years until his retirement.

Mackley Lucas - Loudoun Milk
Mackley Lucas - Loudoun Milk

Recollection of the Old Lincoln School by Mackley Lucas

From interviews August 17, 2004 and August 20, 2004, by Maria Nicklin Collins

 

Note: Mr. Lucas’ wife, Luvenia, is noted also as “Bea”

 

 

NICKLIN

You attended Lincoln Elementary, correct?

 

LUCAS

Right... Well, I went there for about seven years and my teacher’s name was Curtis W. Ewing and we had a one-room school there at that time so I worked up. . . I think it was three or four years and then we had an upstairs so we had another teacher and she came in. Her name was Mrs. Ennison and she stayed there just one year and then we had another one for upstairs, Vince Walker from Leesburg. He came and spent the rest of the time and he stayed there until the school was integrated in Lincoln. We had 35 or 40 children there. One teacher - when I first started there - Mr. Ewing, he'd taken care of everybody. He had the whole 1st grade and carried on through the 7th grade - one teacher and we had an old coal stove there, I forget what they call it. . . but anyhow when he came in in the mornings, especially in the wintertime, he'd put hot water on and have us bean soup. We'd have our bean soup dinner and I never will forget it. He'd bring little glass jars to put our bean soups and there were right many kids there, and well, we all got along fine. We had our little ball games on the side of the hill down there and I don't know if you know where the school is or not? Down from that church? (Mt.Olive)

 

Yes, and we used to have ball games and things and we decided one day that they were going to play football and I never will forget it. There was a boy named Limrod Valentine. He run, grabbed me and stepped on my heart, (laughs) like near killed me, great big feet, and I came out of that team, so I didn't play anymore football, but I could stay on another ball team so we went from there on and we used to play Hide and Go Seek and I never will forget it. We was all out there and the bell rang for the children to come in and we sat there hiding from the person trying to come find us and the bell rang and we didn't come in 'cause we didn't know that the bell rang. We were so far away from that building, so we went on there and after a while they came out looking for us, eight or ten of us out there hiding. So, we all got a little spanking for that from just not paying attention at the time. So, we went on like that and after a while Mr. Ewing stopped us from playing Hide and Go Seek because he said that we didn't know what time to come in so he said, "Stop that’. Which they did. We stopped playing Hide and Go Seek. So we went on and let's see, year to year, I don't know. . . I've forgotten more than I ever knew. We had a class called a Spelling Bee. We had 4th, 5th and 6th grades in that Spelling Bee. I was in the 5th. There was a little girl in the 4th. She was an A-1 student, I thought. Recitation, I reckon, we called it. So many of 'em at the head of the class, and so many of 'em in the middle, so many of 'em down... I was in the middle and this little old 4th grade girl was down below me and she spelled a word. . . I forget what the word was. . . and everybody missed it except that little old 4th grader and she'd decided that she could spell it and she spelled it and she passed on up to the class. . . all the way up to the end and we thought that was terrible. Mr. Ewing, he (laughs), I don't know, I can imagine. . . I can see him now, laughing... you know, this little 4th grade girl pass us in the Spelling Bee. But, anyhow. .. she ended up, she was an A-1 student. So, let's see. If you could ask some questions, maybe I could answer them better.

 

NICKLIN

OK. What were the years that you attended the school?

 

LUCAS

I guess it was about seventy years ago... [How much would that be from our age now, Bea?] "The 30's?" Yeah, I guess, back in about the 30's. So, anyhow we thought that school was wonderful though. I spent all of my education right there at that one school.

 

NICKLIN

What subjects did you like the best?

 

LUCAS

I liked arithmetic and English. That was my best subject and we had a book called, "Hygiene", a little flat book and anyhow we... I hated that book. It was in Health and I didn't like that thing, but anything I went to do, I would get a D in that one subject and the rest of 'em would be anywhere [from] B, C, C-. The little old book that I didn't like. [laughs]. I didn't know it, I just never liked it, but I can sit back sometimes...

 

NICKLIN

Which of the three teachers that were there, did you like the best?

 

LUCAS

Mr. Ewing.

 

NICKLIN

The first one?

 

LUCAS

Oh, yeah. When he died, I was a pallbearer in his funeral. He's been dead for several years, but he was a good teacher.

 

NICKLIN

What made him a good teacher?

 

LUCAS

Well, he meant what he said, you know what I mean? He'd tell you "Stop that!”. He meant it and if you didn't, you had to go up there and you had to hold them hands down and he gonna [clapping sound] tear your hands up. So we went on. Ms. Henson was a nice teacher too, she was right strict.

She was a half-day teacher. She came in, she taught from 9 'til noon and then she went off to another school. So, Mr. Walker, he was the same way but other than that, everything went fine for me.

 

NICKLIN

And where did you live? Did you live in Lincoln or Purcellville?

 

 

LUCAS

Well, I lived in Rock Hill - two miles from Lincoln, it was west of Lincoln. Do you know Welsh's farm?

 

NICKLIN

I know Sarah Welsh!

 

LUCAS

O.K. That 's where we lived and tend the house up from the farm. We stayed there for several years. We rented it. So we had to walk from there to school. So, we used to walk up the road and stand there and wait for some kids coming from North Fork. Them kids came from North Park. And we waited for 'em. We'd be there on time and here they'd come round the corner so we'd all walk together and there toward the last day, I think we started to try to sneak out and smoke, and we got along pretty good with them, other than our parents I think got and they worked us. I soon got out of that.

 

NICKLIN

Who were some of your friends that you waited for?

 

LUCAS

The Groom 's, the Chinn's. Let's see. . . Carlene Grooms, Jenny Lee, Louise

Chinn, Limrod Valentine, other than that. . .

 

NICKLIN

How long did you live in Rock Hill?

 

LUCAS

The whole time I was going to school - about seven years. I'd say ten or twelve years, maybe longer. And then I started working there. My Daddy, he died and he was an auto mechanic, and he died, and I was the man. I was the oldest one in the family, so I decided to work on that farm down there. I wasn't paid much. . . I think it was $17.00 a month, something like that. . . so I let them take that out of my wages and I got the $10, so that was hard, but I did that for three or four years until my mom got Social Security and I thought I was the man then. . . I was taking care of the whole family.

 

NICKLIN

How many brothers and sisters do you have?

 

LUCAS

Three boys and three girls so we had a big time. (Laughs)

 

NICKLIN

What kind of work did you do on the farm?

 

LUCAS

Milk the cows. Cut the bushels. Fed the chickens and the hogs and even had in the wintertime, they had an ice house down there. Put it down in some kind of a building that was way down in the ground and they put straw all over the top of it. And they called that the place where they kept ice. I don't know where we got the ice now, but I reckon a pond somewhere, big piece of ice, and that stuff would stay there until summertime right down in that place. . . I'd love to see that. I don't know whether or not the building is still up there or not, but the building on there on top of the ground, but there is a deep hole down in there, and we had to go down there with a ladder to bring the ice out, great big piece of ice.

 

NICKLIN

That must have been hard!

 

LUCAS

Yeah, it was hard. (Laughs)

 

NICKLIN

So, you worked for Gordon Welsh?

 

LUCAS

Yeah, I was there until I finished school. He started driving the milk truck, so that just left me and Mr. Sam there. So, it was a lot for one man, that put a lot of work on me. So, I had a horse there named Prince, past the cows and way up past Mr. Sunny King’s place, way up on the upper field, way up, grabbed a bag out of the saddle, milked the cow.

 

NICKLIN

How many cows did you have to milk every day?

 

LUCAS

Thirty-two, 34 cows.

 

NICKLIN

What time did you have to get up to do that?

 

LUCAS

Well, I was supposed to get up at 4:00 but we'd always get to the barn at 5:00. Me, and Mr. Samuel and Mr. Gordon, that's all. We had certain cows to milk and those cows would kick and I would get mad and I didn't want to work with cows and it went on 'til I finally got away from there. . . I don't know how. We moved away. We moved from there to Purcellville . . . stayed there a year or two after Daddy died, we moved to my mother's home place. Place down there, but they called it Hughesville, I don't know if you know it or not. That's down off of 704.

 

NICKLIN

What was your job after working on the farm?

 

LUCAS

I guess I don't remember.  I stayed there for three years and I started driving a milk truck. Drove that for 35 years and after that we went into business for ourselves. We had a [refuse truck], my son-in-law offered me a partnership, so we were running that for 23 years. And after that, we sold that and I retired.

 

NICKLIN

Do you know much about [the Quakers}?

 

LUCAS

I know Mr. Janney. Do you remember him?

 

NICKLIN

Yes. I have never got to meet him but I've read a lot of his books.

 

LUCAS

We used to have no trouble with 'em They were real nice to us. They are good people. There are still Quakers. Lincoln is a Quaker town, but everybody likes each other.

 

NICKLIN

Yup. (Laughs)

 

LUCAS

Yeah. (Laughs) I'm telling ya'. But everybody likes each other.

 

NICKLIN

What is kind of the most significant change that you've seen here in Loudoun County? There's the growth, but anything else?

 

LUCAS

In Loudoun County? Well, I don't know when I started driving the milk truck, I would get a load of milk right in Purcellville and now I quit and I can hardly get a load from Purcellville to Hamilton. (Laughs) I don't know if the development and the people building these houses and things. . . It's taken over everything in Loudoun County. We had farms and all you had to do was walk maybe a block and you was on somebody's farm. Now, you walk a block, you are on somebody's house, so other than that...

More information from a second interview on August 20, 2004

 

NICKLIN

How far a walk was it from North Fork?

 

LUCAS

Well, I'd say at least three and a half miles.

 

NICKLIN

What about from the Welsh Farm to Lincoln?

 

LUCAS

Well, I'd say we had a mile and a half

 

NICKLIN

Even on snowy, cold days?

 

LUCAS

Yes, sir. Walked right on top of the fence, and didn't even know we were walking on top of fences. American wire. . .barbed wire fences. . .snow was that high.

 

NICKLIN

Did you have any kind of special boots or anything?

 

LUCAS

No, we probably didn't even have no rubber! (laughs)

 

NICKLIN

But the schoolmaster kept the schoolhouse warm?

 

LUCAS

Oh, yeah. We had an old coal stove there and had a great big old kettle sitting on top, for heating it up for our bean soup for lunch. Yeah, we kept warm. Running old soft coal. It was dusty and we didn't mind it. (laughs) Back in them days. . . I'd mind it now. (Laughs)

 

NICKLIN

Where did you get your coal from?

 

LUCAS

The School Board supplied it, I imagine from a coal mine somewhere in West Virginia. The School Board arranged it. They had a coal house. . .had it all filled up for the winter.

 

NICKLIN

Did the schoolmaster get that coal or did you all have to go out?

 

LUCAS

Well, some of the children, some of the bigger boys, went out and brought it to the school.

 

NICKLIN

You did say that you remembered your teachers there. If you can say their names again.

 

LUCAS

My teacher was Curtis W. Ewing, and he taught me all the way through school. From when I first started to come until I graduated and in the later years - they had an upstairs to this building down there, in the later years another teacher came in and taught half a day and her name was Miss Henson. She taught there, I think one year or two years. Then in between that, the next teacher who came in was a teacher named Ben Walker and then he went to another school.

 

NICKLIN

Can you describe the inside of the building. You mentioned the coal stove and that there were two floors.

 

LUCAS

Well, we had lights hung up on the walls. I think it was two on this side and two on this side in front, right behind the teacher. The teacher had a desk here and a blackboard here, 2nd grade, 3rd grade. As he called the grades, different grades you know, but he taught all. I don't know when they went upstairs. . . I can't remember two teachers in the school, say 1st through the 4th upstairs, but he taught me all the grades.

 

NICKLIN

Do you remember some of the other children?

 

LUCAS

Marie, Charlie Chinn, John, Ella, Joseph, Lindsay Meredith, Forrest Traveller, Luella Traveller. . . she was way back in the 4th. That was a smart girl, call on me to spell a word, I missed it, she's the little young kid in school, she knew the word and I never. . .

 

NICKLIN

What did she end up doing?

 

LUCAS

She passed her grades fine and I don't think she went to high school did she?

 

NICKLIN

Can you describe a typical day at school?

 

Luvenia LUCAS

You got a good whipping ... He always hit you with a ruler and he’d [hit] them knuckles. You'd straighten out those fingers too, but other than that. . . Well, we had a field day at the end of every year. We had a big field day, skating rink up there in Purcellville and we'd all go up there and had to speak. My Daddy. . . we got a pair of sneaks. . .pair of Knickelbockers <sic>, put an old rubber band. I thought I was dressed up. I was dressed up, one little boy stepped on my shoes. That passed on me; I thought the world of them sneaks. Back in them days, you didn't get, you was somebody.

 

NICKLIN

Where did you get your sneakers from, there in Purcellville?

 

LUCAS

Yeah, I think there was a store in Purcellville called. . .what was that, hardware?

 

Luvenia LUCAS

[Pankatt’s?]

 

LUCAS

Yeah, [Pankatt's Bros. Store] in Purcellville, that was it. We used to buy shoes over at Mr. Janney's over in Lincoln. He'd walk in and say, "I got just what you want, Mackley!”. “What is it?” "A pair of shoes here, and I'll sell 'em to you right. . .$12.00 or $14.00” and we kept waiting for him to come down. It was hard going.      ·

 

NICKLIN

And how much was the rent on your house?

 

LUCAS

Seven dollars a month. I started working on the farm then and they'd send me from the farm on to the house sisters and brothers and they'd take that seven dollars off my wages. I was the big wheel of the family then. I was the oldest. I thought I was the man then.

 

NICKLIN

So, what time did you have to be at school in the morning?

 

LUCAS

Nine o'clock

 

NICKLIN

And you had all that farm work to do before you went to school.

 

LUCAS

Yeah! Clean up that barn. Yes, indeed! We used to get up in the morning and milk. We didn't have a milking machine either, three of ‘em, and clean up and get ready to go in the house and eat and change my pants, shirt.

 

LUCAS

But, it was nice; it was more of a health book. I must have passed it.

 

NICKLIN

How long did you have for lunch?

 

LUCAS

We'd forget our lunch and then we. . . the bell rings to come in, the break was over, set our lunch on the ground, half a gallon of King syrup, I remember some of 'em had a nice lunch, but I had a half gallon of King syrup. It had a handle and a top on it.

 

NICKLIN

What time did class let out in the afternoon?

 

LUCAS

Three thirty.

 

NICKLIN

OK. If you want to start talking again about leaving school and going to work.

 

LUCAS

After school we’d. . . and then I'd have to go get the cattle. And they were way down there at the end of the farm where they going, and I'd go up there and try to make the bull run way on up there past top of that mountain up in there, and I brought the cows in. You have to come in, put it through a strainers. They had two strainers run on out into the milk can and I had to wash all that stuff up at night. My job was in that barn. Had a wheelbarrow there; they had a great big pit. I'd run it over the board. I finally got a thing called. . . I forget what they called it. . . anyhow that thing lay it down, flat scoop the manure, put it in that thing, so finally got that and track carried it out to the manure pit and it was a hell of a lot better than the wheelbarrow. All the time and they never did use it. One time, I never will forget, you have to turn the valve on these milking machines and it kept falling off, and finally somebody said, "Why, don't you turn the handle?”. He turned the handle and it stayed and I remember it was a lifesaver. . . and after that we got the glass things you milk into.

 

LUCAS

That was hard work back in them days.

 

NICKLIN

Do you remember any of the Quakers who helped build the church or school in Lincoln?

 

LUCAS

[George Haag.]

 

Luvenia LUCAS

What did he do?

 

LUCAS

Lawrence Taylor. He built the cemetery and in the summertime, Billy Cochran.

 

LUCAS

We used to go up there and mow and snip around every stone. It hurt so bad you could hardly move your hand. Times have changed.

 

NICKLIN

Who from the white community helped the most or was it segregated? What was the relationship like then between the whites and blacks.

 

LUCAS

I didn't have any problem with them.

 

LUCAS

Before they integrated [the] school bus and they'd see us walking, that bus came from North Fork but they threw snow on us, but they blew snow all over us. . . I tell you the truth; I never had a problem with the white boys.

 

Luvenia LUCAS

You have to give respect to get it.

 

NICKLIN

Do you know anything about the Cookesville Cemetery?

 

LUCAS

I know where it is, but I never. . . Purcellville, let's see. Used to go right along down the hill, Purcellville Cemetery.

 

NICKLIN

Do you know anything about the old cabin on Brooks Lane near the old church where Miss Jessie Brooks lived?

 

LUCAS

A fellow by the name of Oscar Brooks used to own it. Was Miss Jessie, Oscar Brook's lady friend or girlfriend or what? Okay.

 

NICKLIN

What do you think of the Lincoln Preservation trying to restore it.

 

Luvenia LUCAS

I think it's great. Better than letting it fall to pieces.

 

NICKLIN

Would you like to see the old Lincoln Elementary School restored?

 

LUCAS

I'd love to see it restored.